Xoloitzcuintli Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

A dog that can keep you warm with its body, help lessen your anxiety, and reduce the pain of your ailments – that’s what a Xoloitzcuintli is.

Their name is pronounced as “show-low-eats-queent-lee,” or Xolo for short. Despite their unusual looks, Xolos actually make excellent watchdogs as well as cuddle buddies!


The Xoloitzcuintli is a natural breed, which means there’s no human manipulation in their creation. Their unique name comes from Xolotl, an Aztec deity and the god of fire and the escort of the dead to the underworld. The term “itzcuintli” is the Aztec term for dogs.

There exists archaeological evidence that Xolos’ ancestors guided relocating people across the Bering Landmass from Asia to the New World. It is strongly believed that Xolos have healing capabilities, especially in treating asthma, rheumatism, and insomnia. It is also believed that they scare off evil spirits as they serve as a companion for the dead, which means that they need to sacrifice their lives as well.

In 1887, Xolo was first recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) where it was known as Mexican Hairless. Their popularity didn’t last, however. In 1940, the breed became popular for a short time when Chinito Jr. became the first and only Xolo to win an AKC tournament.

After that, pet shops could barely keep their Xolos. It came to the point that they were deregistered by AKC in 1959.

Thanks to its enthusiasts, Xolos came back from extinction. At present, they are recognized as a natural treasure in Mexico. In 2010, they were officially named as the dog of the year, and in 2011, the AKC recognized the breed again.


A mohawk hair, a puckered brow, an almost hairless body with a rat-like tail – the Xolo’s physical appearance may not appeal to everyone.

But if you look closely, you will appreciate its beauty. The Xolo is a muscular dog, with a build that is a bit longer than tall. Like the other dogs, they also have webbed feet. They may not be attractive for some, but Xolo’s fans consider them magnificent dogs.

The Xolo comes in two coat varieties: hairless and coated, although the former is more popular. The hairless variety has a little hair on the top of its head, at the feet, and at its tail. Its skin is tough yet smooth and fits closely to its body. Meanwhile, the coated variety has a short and smooth coat. The Xolo has the same temperature as other dog breeds but they felt warmer because they lack insulating hair.

This breed comes in a variety of colors, such as black, gray-black, slate, red, liver, and bronze. Some may even have white markings on their bodies.


The Xolo comes in three different sizes:
Toy – The toy variety is the smallest size, about 10 to 14 inches (25 to 36 cm) at the shoulder.
Miniature – The miniature size stands at 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 cm) at the shoulder.
Standard – The largest size stands at 18 to 23 inches (45 to 58 cm) at the shoulder.
Their weight varies from 10 to 50 pounds (4 to 22 kg).

Life Span

The Xolo has an average life span of 12 to 15 years. There are many factors to prolong your dog’s life, including their diet, exercise, and the time and affection you provide them. Make sure to keep your dog happy and healthy so they live a satisfying life.


You may be thinking that it’s easy to groom Xolos since their almost hairless dogs. While they clean themselves like felines, they also sweat through their skin and paws. Make sure that those areas are always clean so that the sebaceous glands won’t clog.

Also, their hairless body doesn’t make them hypoallergenic. They still produce dander, saliva, and urine which may trigger an individual’s allergy.

Bathing should be done every few weeks. Don’t use a strong shampoo. Oils or lotions are not necessary.


A fully matured Xolo is calm yet alert but can be reserved when surrounded by strangers. More often, they often pick one person in the household as their favorite, but that won’t mean they won’t like the other members.

Puppies have a high energy level, which means they need a lot of exercises to release their energy, otherwise, they will develop destructive behaviors. Once they get older, they become more mellow.

Additionally, Xolos have a strong drive to chase animals, and that includes your neighbor’s pets. They can also be territorial and protective that’s why it is important not to get them off your eyes when outdoors. As always, early socialization is essential for your dog to grow to be a well-mannered canine.

Overall, a properly trained Xolo can be a vigilant watchdog, as well as an excellent “heating” companion.


Xolos are intelligent dogs, but they can also be stubborn. They are clever and would try to trick you into doing whatever they want. They are independent, and if not trained early, they might decide on their own. That said, you must let them know that you are the pack leader and they must follow your rules.


Xolos are muscular, athletic dogs. Every move is graceful and they also run pretty fast. An adult Xolo can effortlessly jump over a six-foot fence, while a pup can hop on a three-foot fence. When you decide to own a Xolo, make sure that your fence is secured and escape-proof.


Daily long walks and vigorous play sessions are essential to meet Xolo’s exercise needs. Indoors, expect them to be calm and cuddle with you to keep both of you warm. They also love to stay under the sun.

Meanwhile, younger Xolos need more exercise to keep themselves out of trouble since they are more energetic than the fully matured ones.


This intelligent, delicate breed learns quickly especially when positive reinforcement techniques are used, such as food rewards, praises, and lots of playtimes. However, Xolos are not for everyone. They need an experienced owner who can provide consistent, firm yet gentle training.

Good With Family

A well-trained Xolo makes a great protector and companion. They are naturally aloof and unfriendly towards strangers and territorial of their properties.

They get along well with their family, especially with children if raised together. However, all interactions between children and dogs should be supervised. Xolos can also get along well with other animals if they are raised with them. However, they can be reserved towards other dogs and may chase smaller animals they see outside.

Keep in mind that a poorly trained and socialized Xolo has a tendency to be aggressive towards strangers, especially when they are provoked.

Apartment Living

Because of its varied sizes, Xolos can easily adjust to any kind of home – that includes apartments and condos. However, they need a peaceful home. Xolos are sensitive to noises and emotions, such as loud and angry voices. They easily get stressed and may develop digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors. That said, Xolos are not for homes with stressful environments.

In addition, Xolos are not barkers but will alert you if they think it is something serious. So if they bark, make sure to look into it.

Separation Anxiety

Xolos do not like to be left home alone for more than a few hours. They need their family most of the time. As much as you can, it is best to take them with you whenever you go out. Xolos may develop destructive behaviors, such as chewing, barking, or digging, which then leads to anxiety.

Health Issues

Generally speaking, Xolos are healthy and resilient dogs. They are not known to have serious health conditions, although there are some ailments they may suffer from, such as arthritis, blindness, deafness, heart murmur, and joint pain.

Also, it is important to take care of their skin due to the fact that they don’t have much hair. Applying the dog’s sunscreen would help protect their skin from the sunlight, and don’t let them stay under the sun for too long! During cold weather, a thick sweater would help to keep them warm.


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